If Online Ad Targeting Works, Does More Targeting Work Better?

target roi A former colleague at Forrester Research recently published a study that described his view of the future of online marketing. The study is available to Forrester clients only, but the crux of the argument is laid out in a blog post: Why Google - Not Facebook - Will Build The Database Of Affinity. The author, Nate Elliot, describes large media companies building a "database of affinity," which he described thusly: Recently we described an idea called the database of affinity: A catalogue of people's tastes and preferences collected by observing their social behaviors on sites like Face [...]

Why “Big Data” Won’t Win You The Battle For Online Revenue

Marin Software Revenue Connect With so much attention currently being focused on big data, advertisers are beginning to lose sight of one crucial truth: big data is worthless if it's not the right data. So what is the right data? We all know that the digital advertising landscape has dramatically matured over the past decade, and businesses are now wise to invest in technology that enables marketing sophistication. But, the right data is what makes that marketing sophistication meaningful. It's what marketers use to power more complex, strategic and smarter marketing decisions. It's the data that matters most to your [...]

At The Digital Crossroads: Shifting To Audience-Centric Marketing

Marin Software Audience Connect Cycle In the first half of 2013, search advertising represented 43% of all digital ad revenue. The primary reason paid search remains so successful is that it creates a direct link between users and their intent. For marketers, the ability to deliver an ad promoting running shoes to users searching for [best running shoes] represents a revenue opportunity that will command an estimated 45.1% share of US digital ad spend in 2014 -- that's more than display, email, or mobile messaging. To date, these channels have failed to match the performance characteristics of search. However, audience-orient [...]

Unstructured Data In Display: Cut Through The Fog To Provide Insight

In my last article, I talked about the importance of unstructured data for optimal performance in display advertising. This time, I’d like to bring that conversation full circle and explore another aspect of what unstructured data provides in spades: insight. While performance is typically the primary way of measuring advertising efforts, insight about your specific buyer is undeniably the best way to kick-start that performance. So, while advertisers find themselves in a foggy haze of excess information, clear and accurate insight becomes invaluable. Here’s a look at how unstructure [...]

What Exactly Is Meant by “Retargeting”?

Retargeting is not a new concept to the digital industry -- in fact, it has been around for some time -- but its uses and forms have definitely evolved. Over the course of this evolution, "retargeting" has become somewhat of a loose term – we now see it used alongside "search" and "social" in addition to its original form, "site retargeting." In my opinion, there is a real need for clarification of, and education about, retargeting. For example, is search retargeting really re-targeting? Despite its name, search retargeting is more of a mid- to upper-funnel strategy that engages new users, [...]

5 Keys To Success In Search Retargeting

When search retargeting was new a few years ago, marketers everywhere were excited about the concept. As a new audience acquisition solution, the ability to tie an advertising campaign back to a specific data set that declared a user’s intent, this was a refreshing breakthrough. At the time, of course, few online marketers even understood search retargeting, let alone used it. Yet, as word of its power spread, more and more users adopted it until there was a stampede of ad networks and DSPs eager to include search retargeting among their offerings. There’s nothing new about this. It [...]

The Real Reason Why Google Is Dropping The Tablet vs. Desktop Distinction? It’s The User Context, Stupid!

There’s been some grumbling among PPC marketers over the last few weeks about a few specific changes in Enhanced Campaigns – in particular, the loss of tablet vs. desktop segmentation, which was previously a best practice for mobile advertising strategy. One of my well-respected colleagues put it bluntly: Now, if you’ll forgive my attention-grabbing headline (based on 'It's the Economy, Stupid'), I’m definitely not actually calling anyone stupid – and, you can certainly see by the volume of re-tweets and favorites, it’s clearly a widely-shared view. However, I recently had th [...]

The Industry Speaks On The Overlap Between Search & Display

We talk a lot in the digital industry about the overlap between search media and display media, and how when planned and operated in unison, there is a 1+1=3 benefit model that magically appears, resulting in higher returns than could be generated by those channels on their own. But does this overlap really exist, and does 1+1 really equal 3, or does is it actually just equal 2? In order to find out the answer, I recently asked several experienced figures within our industry for their insights and comment. AKQA Media – Drew Wahl, Director of Business Development Booyah Advertisin [...]

The Highs & Lows Of Search Retargeting: Version 3.0 Is Here Already

I know this industry evolves fast, but damn! Just 18 months ago, most media planners and search marketers had not heard of search retargeting, and already we are in what could easily be called version 3.0. With the agency hat back on (for today), we look at whether this tactic is living up to the growing hype. When the principle was first explained to me, I was running an agency display media team at a search agency that was focused on direct response clients; I was therefore interested in tactics that involved precise data points as a way to focus on user intent. Search retargeting seem [...]

How To Maximize SEM Efforts With Search Retargeting

Last month, we discussed how display media has evolved to be more quantitative in Why Search Marketers Are The Future Media Planners, and ironically, how the skillset held by search marketers has become more relevant to display media than the skill set held by current media planners. Using the real-time environment of the media exchanges, ‘search retargeting’ is one of several techniques that has created a safe bridge for SEM marketers to move into display and see almost instant results, and it is the SEM budget holders that are trying it quicker than the media planners (and who often [...]

Behavioral Targeting & Google Analytics: How To Create Personas

Following my last post on behavioral targeting, which was an overview of the field, I will provide a more hands-on approach in this post. To briefly recap, behavioral targeting involves creating multiple "personas" that represent multiple users of your site, and using analytics to create a unique experience for each persona group based on observed and predicted behavior. The first step to a successful behavioral targeting process is finding the right targets. It is not always obvious which users should be "bucketed" together. Creating effective buckets requires knowledge about the site and [...]

Behavioral Targeting: Creating A Unique Experience For Each Visitor

Behavioral targeting (BT) has been the buzzword of the year for the last two years in the web analytics field. But is BT really all that important and valuable to the companies making use of it? The answer is usually yes. And does it take a team of PhDs to implement BT for a website? The answer is usually no. In this and a following post I will explain the value that behavioral targeting offers, and show how a marketer can make use of BT to make the website experience richer for users, and increase conversion rates. According to Wikipedia, there are two principal types of behavioral target [...]

Report: Most People Don’t Want Online Tracking Even If It Means Relevant Ads Or Savings

Get ready marketers: a credible new report with sweeping implications from the University of Pennsylvania and UC Berkeley is likely to be the nail in the coffin of self regulation of online advertising. Specifically I'm talking about behavioral targeting, which largely concerns online display advertising but does marginally touch search at Yahoo and Google. The NY Times discussed the report, released today: The study’s authors hired a survey company to conduct interviews with 1,000 adult Internet users. The interview, which lasted about 20 minutes, included questions like "Please tell me [...]

SEMPO Releases Survey Data Revealing State Of SEM

SEMPO formally released data on the state of search engine marketing, its annual survey of agencies and marketers. This year's survey consisted of 800 respondents from all over the globle. However 68 percent of respondents were from the US, with 20 percent coming from a range of countries. Seven percent of respondents were from Canada and 5 percent from the UK. The respondents/clients represented a range of industries. The top sectors were "retail, business services, electronics manufacturing and financial services." As part of the findings and related report SEMPO forecast that SEM spen [...]

Privacy Concerns, Online Ad Targeting On Apparent Collision Course

Call it the "Cuban Missile Crisis" of online advertising: consumers and publishers are increasingly at odds over online ad targeting and behavioral targeting (BT) in particular. While that may be a hyperbolic characterization, the majority of US internet users appear uncomfortable with online tracking and targeting at a time when publishers and search engines are more aggressively embracing it. Most recently, Google introduced BT as "interest-based advertising" on the AdSense network. Yahoo, which has been using BT for quite some time, started factoring search queries into the targeting mix [...]

SEMPO Report Cuts Search Ads Forecast

SEMPO's new report, due to be released this week, cuts its forecast for search advertising. The results are based on a survey of almost 900 agencies and search marketers. According to the Wall Street Journal, the report scales back previous growth projections considerably: [SEMPO] says North American search marketing spending will increase only 9% to $14.7 billion in 2009 from $13.5 billion a year ago. Its previous estimates, made in early 2008, called for the industry to grow at more than twice that rate this year, from $15.7 billion in 2008 to $18.8 billion in 2009. The new forecasts call f [...]

Post-Click Marketing For Search Marketers

Over the past year, the term "post-click marketing" has come up more frequently in search marketing discussions, especially in the context of improving conversion rates and overall search ROI. At SMX West earlier this month, Gordon Hotchkiss of Enquiro unequivocally declared that post-click marketing moves the needle for their clients more than any other aspect of search marketing. So what exactly is post-click marketing and how can you leverage it in your search marketing program? Here's a brief introduction. Post-click marketing > landing pages The simplest definition of post-cli [...]

Location in the Browser: What Does It Mean?

Not long ago, Google rolled out its "Geolocation API" (via Google Gears). Initially it was intended to enable third party publishers and developers to get location for their apps on mobile devices using a combination of the phone's inherent location-awareness technologies (i.e., GPS) and Google's cell-tower database (which has been expanded now to include WiFi locations). However it also works for destkop browsers, provided that Gears is installed on the computer. Here's the Google Code Blog discussing the impact: When we originally proposed the Gears Geolocation API our goal was to make i [...]

Yahoo Improves Content Match Targeting

The Yahoo Search Marketing Blog announced they have improved the targeting and relevancy of their content match product. The improvements will lead to a higher click through rate on ads and higher satisfaction. The specific improvement is that they now not only target the ads based on the content of the page, but also based on the user viewing the page. Yahoo will tailor the ad based on the "users' geographic and behavioral profiles." [...]

Behavioral Targeting Under Fire As ISP Backs Away From Tracking Subscriber Activities

Privacy is dead, get used to it. In the effort to rescue display advertising from its historically dismal performance and so-called "banner blindness," behavioral targeting (BT) was born a few years ago with Tacoda. It has both increased in popularity and infamy since that time. Consumers prefer more "relevant" ads but they also dislike being tracked. That's the paradox and the problem with BT. Here's the issue in a nutshell. According to a March 2008 survey by Truste (written up in MediaPost), "nearly three out of four people, or 71%, said they realize that companies track their Web browsin [...]

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